wood sign with the word joy painted on

Year on Purpose: Finding Healthy Rhythms, Don’t let it steal your joy!

wood sign with the word joy painted on

Don’t let it steal your joy!

One of the things that God has spoken over me these last couple years is to keep my joy. Not to let anyone steal it. That I am in control of my own emotions and not to let others rob me of having the joy of the Lord.

Let me tell you right now that I am still very much a student in this area. I tell my kids all the time not to let others steal their joy. So much so that they now tell each other and even me to not let something steal their joy. The problem is sometimes (almost always) it is much easier to say than to do.

My biggest struggle

My biggest struggle with not letting something steal my joy is with my kiddos. When I’m preaching it to them it just seems so incredibly… I’m just going to say it… D.U.M.B to let your sibling steal your joy over a sticker. A sticker that has been peeled and stuck to every surface under the sun. THE STICKER DOES NOT STICK ANY LONGER PEOPLE!! Why are we crying about the sticker that doesn’t even work?! Oh, and did I mention that there is an entire bin of new, very sticky, stickers RIGHT NEXT TO THE CRYING CHILD? Yup. I let that kind of stuff completely steal my own joy while I’m sternly, almost, kind of yelling at my child not to let it steal theirs… ugh. But there is hope! (Thank you Jesus!!) Galatians teaches us the fruit of the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

God has given us everything we need

God has already given us everything we need. I have joy! It’s there already inside of me. I just need to do my part and practice using it. It was explained to me once that how we get more love, joy, peace, etc. is by working it out just like how we gain muscles by working our muscles out. It’s also been explained like a fruit tree. It starts as tiny as a seed and grows into a large tree that after being watered and nourished produces good fruit. That’s how these fruits of the spirit start in us. When we believe in Jesus and give Him our lives, we are gifted these fruits, but they start out as tiny seeds that we must ‘water and nourish’ so that one day we can bear good fruit too. 

In my own life ‘watering and nourishment’ has looked like spending time with Jesus every day. Studying his word and filling my cup with all His goodness so that I can fill others cup with the overflow. I’ve learned that you cannot give away what you do not have. It is very important to fill your own cup with God’s love and goodness so that you can give love and goodness away to others that God puts in your path.

Every day is an opportunity, every moment counts for eternity.  

Don’t let your kids steal your joy

Very practically, when my children are starting to steal my joy, I am working on retraining my brain to think about the situation differently. Instead of becoming irritated or frustrated, I remind myself that God has blessed me with three amazing children. He has entrusted me with raising them and teaching them all His ways. This might sound ridiculous or slightly silly, but it works. We, like so many, struggled with having children. In many ways after going through that, I would never wish this struggle on anyone. Yet, in so many other ways God showed up for me and my husband. Those years of suffering have become so precious to my relationship with God and my marriage. I felt extra joy than I think I would have with the birth of each of our miracle babies. Many times we’ve been reminded just how much of a miracle they are. Putting the gushy stuff aside… I said I was ‘retraining my brain to think’ differently because when those cute kiddos turn into annoying creatures the gushy sweet stuff flies right out of my head. I have to intentionally think about them the way God does. That takes a lot of practice. 

Retraining your mind

Think about how you can retrain your mind to think about frustrating situations differently so that it is easier to keep your joy. If its kids that are stealing your joy, are they hungry? Tired? If it is other adults that you are letting steal your joy try to think about why they are being difficult or acting the way they are. Is there something in their lives that is causing them stress? Sometimes we adults get a little hangry too… just saying. The point is that we cannot control other people, we can only control ourselves. We can only do our best and let God handle the rest. Keep your joy and try to be a light to others.

Weird parenting advice that works!

I’ve been given very good (and kind of weird) advice on how to handle a situation with my children where I am definitely starting to let them steal my joy. I could yell at them and maybe get the response I’m looking for in the moment. Yelling at my kids has proven to work in the past, but I do not like the fallout from it. Instead, I’ve been told to simply sit down. That’s right, sit. There is something so silly and simple about having three crying children losing their minds, probably screaming, and just sitting down. Those tiny humans are throwing their fits looking for a reaction from me. I’ve often given into it and thrown my own fit back at them. While I am the parent and have authority over them (my temper tantrum wins), it does not teach them anything about being a righteous person. Instead, I sit. They have no stinking clue what to do with this bold move. What in the world is mom doing??? Tears dry, voices lower, it gets a little awkward, and then we all move on with life. My joy has been kept, hooray!! Thank you Jesus for that ‘W’, I’ll take it. 

Bringing in a teaching moment

With my oldest, I pray for the holy spirit to prompt me when and if there is a time later in the day or maybe the next when I can talk with her about what happened and how we can do better next time. My other two are too little for this, but the hope is that they will learn from these teaching moments. In God’s goodness He uses all our days, situations and circumstances for good.

we have a choice

God has shown me that I have a choice. I can let a frustrating event like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum steal my joy. Or, I can not let it steal my joy and show my child that not only does throwing a tantrum not work, but it has no power over mama either. Each time I keep my joy in these tough moments I get better and better at keeping my joy so the next time it’s a little bit easier. I also believe that it is ministering and doing a good work in my children as they grow. It shows them that they cannot steal mom’s joy, because it doesn’t come from them, it comes from God. When my kids grow up, I want them to know that their joy is not dependent on their circumstances. Their joy comes from God too.

grace upon grace and then add a little more grace

Don’t let it steal your joy is a great slogan and a wonderful thing to chase after. It is also incredibly hard in frustrating situations. Trust me I know. I mess this one up a lot. I wish I did not, but sometimes the flesh wins. God teaches us that there is no condemnation for those who believe in Jesus. He also teaches us that as soon as we ask for forgiveness, He gives it and remembers it no more (see verses below). This means we do not need to feel bad every time we let something steal our joy. We ask God to forgive us and anyone else that we may have offended and we move on. That’s right, you do NOT need to feel bad. In fact you shouldn’t. I’ve heard it said that stressing over a mistake is like sitting in a rocking chair. You move a lot, but don’t get anywhere. Own up to your mistake and make it right as best you can, then move on. In short, give yourself grace upon grace and then add a little more grace.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 

"For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

"as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12

"Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name." 1 Peter 4:16

How do you keep your joy?

Let me know how you keep your joy in stressful or frustrating circumstances. I would love to hear all your stories and try them out for myself.

Check Out These Posts For More Encouragement:

Year On Purpose

Easy Cleaning Schedule

How To Keep The Dishes Clean

Simple Solutions To Never Ending Laundry

Finding Healthy Rhythms Starts With Me

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